I have a problem. Since the new year began—no, actually, starting in about December of last year—I’ve started exactly eight new projects. As in eight completely different stories, all of which are long form, or novel length ideas.
That in itself isn’t necessarily a problem. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I almost never work on just one thing at a time. The problem is, I’m beginning to have trouble focusing. Ideas are starting to blend and bleed over, characters are beginning to warp into one another. It’s very mild and very subtle at the moment, and I’m glad I’m noticing it, so I should be able to halt that before my writing and the stories I’m trying to tell become muddled and bland. But it is still worrisome because it speaks of a much larger complication.
I think that the reason I’ve started all these projects is because I am anxious to finish another manuscript. Now that I’ve got one not only finished, but finished to the best of my ability, I think I’m anxious to prove to myself that I can do it again. That I’m not just a one-trick pony, so to speak, and that I have it in me to be a writer, not just write one thing and be done. So right now, subconsciously I think, I’m trying to top myself. The perfectionist in me will not let me rest, and the compulsion to tell stories won’t either.
So, needless to say, I’ve been…preoccupied these last few weeks. I feel like I’m trying to cook eight different meals at the same time, and I’m struggling to keep the ingredients and the pots and pans and utensils separate and avoid cross-contamination. But I’m limited in that I’ve only got a set number of burners on the stove and a set amount of space in the oven, so there’s a fair amount of juggling going on. Not to mention that, unfortunately, the rest of life can’t be paused while I sort all this out. So there’s that.
But, on the up-side, at the very least one good thing to take away from all this is that it seems I don’t have a shortage of stories to tell. My problem isn’t trying to come up with something to do next, its sorting through the glut of ideas I already have and finishing one of them. And having said that, I’m fairly excited about some of the stuff I’ve got cooking.